McGill med school reform faces opposition

April 12, 2013

A new curriculum being introduced this year in McGill University's medical school has some physicians worried that McGill will lose its edge in the research realm and become a "family doctor factory" that will diminish the institution's status. Some doctors involved in teaching at McGill oppose the direction of the new curriculum, arguing that it cuts back on the foundational science required for medical school students and will jeopardize McGill's ability to produce high-calibre clinician scientists. But supporters of the new curriculum say it is necessary in order to produce more family doctors and that not only will it give students more exposure to family medicine, it will also teach them how to learn independently. The current lecture-intensive first year will instead entail morning-only lectures and small-group sessions with patients or problem-solving in the afternoons. This has left many physicians wondering how students will acquire the foundation of science needed to become doctors. A Quebec Health Department spokesperson says medical schools have been asked to promote family medicine to help the province meet its goal of having an equal number of residents in family medicine and specialties, and because Quebec is still short more than 1,000 family doctors. A Université de Montréal medical school official says the university has already started working to "create excitement" about family medicine. Université Laval's medical school has already built a new curriculum around promoting more interest in family medicine, says an official with the school. Montreal Gazette (McGill) | Montreal Gazette (Family Medicine)